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English boys 'leaving primary school unable to read'

17th December 2010

One in 11 boys in England leave primary school with a reading age of an average seven-year-old at best, a new investigation has revealed.

Figures obtained from the Department for Education by the BBC's Today programme showed that nine per cent of those starting secondary school are below the expected reading standard.

The statistics also note that the problem is worse in some areas than others, with 15 per cent of 11-year-old boys in Nottingham only having a reading age of a seven-year-old.

Barking and Dagenham, Telford and the Wrekin, Rotherham, Manchester and Derby fared slightly better, with 14 per cent of boys at this level.

Education secretary Michael Gove said the new national reading test, which will apply to all six-year-olds in England, will help to identify the pupils that are in need of further support.

'I believe we need to make a series of changes so that children can learn to read so they can go on to read to learn,' he added.

Last month, Her Majesty's chief inspector Christine Gilbert, the head of Ofsted, said that too many pupils are leaving primary school unable to read and write at the required level and called for reading to be placed at the heart of the curriculum.
 

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